MCSO: Possible 2nd 'mercy killing' in Sun City - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

MCSO: Possible 2nd 'mercy killing' in Sun City

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Howard Rudolph Howard Rudolph
SUN CITY, Ariz. -

The Maricopa County Sheriff's office is investigating what they say may be Sun City's second "mercy killing."

Neighbors heard a thud around 7:30 a.m. coming from a home near Dell Webb Boulevard and Grand Avenue.

About an hour later, deputies say 76-year-old Howard Allen Rudolph called 911, then hung up.

The 911 dispatchers have reportedly received around 20 calls from the man's home recently.

When deputies forced their way into the home, they found a grisly scene: Howard, a weapon and his dead wife, Earlene Rudolph.

"Her body was in the bathroom," said MCSO Sgt. Brandon Jones.  "..bloody scene.. several shell casings on the ground near the area.

Authorities say Howard left a note inside the home under the gun he used to allegedly kill her.  In it, he wrote, "I do love her.. money goes to shelter.. she is so hateful.. I can't stand her."

According to deputies, the 73-year-old woman died from what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds.

The note -- and what Howard later told deputies -- that he killed his wife because she was sick, now leads investigators to believe this is the second mercy killing in the neighborhood in less than a year.

"By all indications, it looks like right now, a mercy killing.. it looks like it could have turned into murder-suicide," said Jones.

The husband apparently left two notes.  One for his lawyer and the other one found under the gun, but no evidence yet suggests that the wife had asked to be killed.

Last November, an 86-year-old man, also living in Sun City, killed his wife who suffered from multiple sclerosis.

George Sanders was given probation in March for the mercy killing of his wife, Virginia, who had multiple sclerosis.

This isn't the first time officers have been called to the home near Dell Webb Boulevard and Grand Avenue and neighbors point to deeper problems in the home.

"He told me she was just impossible.. he couldn't control her anymore," said Randy Ek.

Investigators took the husband to the hospital for questioning.  He now faces murder charges.

Now deputies worry the killing could be the start of a trend.

MCSO wants to make clear that they treat mercy killings just as they would any murder investigation.

"As people get older, sometimes they get sick.  We have no right to take a life. As a law enforcement officer, we will investigate and take for prosecution anybody who takes life," said Arpaio.

Right now, authorities are asking the public for help notifying next of kin -- they've been unable to reach any of the couple's family members.

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